Platinum Metals Rev., 2004, 48, (1), 15
METAL PRICES AND THE COST OF PGM CHEMICALS
The selling price of chemicals that contain the platinum group metals (pgms) is made up of two major aspects: manufacturing costs and the metal price. For metal compounds made from the most used (and more costly) pgms: platinum, palladium and rhodium, the manufacturing element of the total cost is relatively small, typically around 0.5 to 1.5%. Therefore, for large-scale use of manufactured metal compounds involving platinum, palladium and rhodium (1), the overall cost is directly related to the intrinsic metal value in the compound. This cost is, however, often offset as these metals can be recycled, and this reduces the impact of the market price on the overall economics of the process.
However, for the less commonly used (and less expensive) pgms: iridium, ruthenium and osmium, the manufacturing element of producing metal compounds can range from 20 to 70% of the total cost. The price of such compounds is still influenced by movements in the intrinsic metal price, but to a lesser extent.
The human, technological and investment efforts required of the primary producers (the mining companies) to extract and refine the ore cannot be overstated (2). While the market, responding to supply and demand, functions for the well-being of the pgm industry as a whole. John E. Gourd
John Gourd is the Commercial Manager of Precious Metal Products at Johnson Matthey, Royston. His main professional responsibilities are the supply of precious metal salts and compounds. E-mail: John.Gourd@matthey.com